Proposed protections from alternative energy scammers
By Dennis Horton / Better Business Bureau Apr 27, 2019
One of the most frequent calls and complaints we receive at the Better Business Bureau is about energy supplier rip-offs. The high cost of energy is a year-round concern and increases measurably as summer approaches and we turn on our air conditioners.
Often what prompts a phone call to our office is when someone has switched energy providers and finds that their costs have skyrocketed. Usually, that switch was made when a sales rep knocked on their door and promised rates cheaper than they were currently paying.
According to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, over the last four years consumers who enrolled with alternative retail electric suppliers have paid more than $600 million dollars more in electricity cost than consumers who stayed with their public utility.
Here’s how the scam has been working locally. The representative often claims to be from or working with ComEd and will ask to see your bill for comparison. While explaining the better deal you can get, they are taking note of your account number. They may then ask for personal information, such as social security number or maybe a credit card number or other banking information.
With that they have the ability to switch energy providers. Without even a signature you can be locked into an agreement to pay upfront costs for services that may not be less expensive. That agreement can lock you into a certain period of time when you will have to use the higher priced services or pay a penalty for early termination. The time can be as much as five years; and they may try to impose a penalty of as much as $500.
Read the full article in the Rockford Register here.